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Muir: Same old plan — tax and spend

Muir: Same old plan — tax and spend

  • Updated
  • 27

“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”

-- Mark Twain --

Just about the time that you think you’ve witnessed all the absurdity possible coming out of Springfield, you’re reminded once again that Illinois lawmakers have cornered the market on illogical, misplaced and just downright stupid ideas.

That was made evident this week with a pair of Senate bills that have been introduced – one doubles the gas tax in Illinois from 30-cents a gallon to 60-cents a gallon and the other one taxes Illinois drivers for … driving. I know many of you are wondering if this is a belated April fool’s joke, but there is seriously a proposal to tax every mile you and I drive along the state’s highways and byways.

Let’s take a look at these two bills – bills that would do nothing more than tighten the screws a little more on middle class, working class people in Illinois.

Senate Bill 3279, introduced by state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) would impose a 30-cents-per-gallon hike in motor fuel taxes. This would bring Illinois gas taxes to a whopping 60 cents per gallon – and establish Illinois by far as the highest rate of any state in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. This bill also would also hit drivers with a 50 percent hike in the state’s vehicle registration fees, which now cost $101 for a car or truck.

Senate Bill 3267 is the brainstorm of Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago). Under this proposal Illinois residents would pay 1.5 cents for every mile they drive. Mileage would be tracked and monitored by a transponder-like device installed in vehicles. Drivers who believe such a tracking device raises privacy concerns would have an alternate option of paying a flat $450 tax per year, or the equivalent of 30,000 miles driven.

Certainly, I don’t know about the intricate political workings that take place in Springfield, and admittedly I am not a political analyst … but I just wonder if anybody stopped for, oh, let’s say 10 seconds, and considered the people that would be most impacted by another money-grab scheme like these two sham pieces of legislation.

I wonder if anybody in Springfield considered what a gas tax and a driving tax would do to the middle-class folks who are driving 50, 60 or 80 miles one-way to work to try and support their families. I wonder if anybody thought of the families that are traveling long distances three or four times a week for medical treatment. I wonder if anybody considered the small trucking and transport companies, many who are struggling already, and what a huge motor fuel tax coupled with the insanity of a driving tax would do to their bottom line. Either lawmakers didn’t consider or they don’t care, or maybe a combination of both.

It’s the insanity of this tax-and-spend mentality that’s the driving reason why people are fleeing Illinois at a rate of one person every five minutes. And it’s the reason that businesses are re-locating to Indiana, Missouri and other bordering states.

I have written and stated often during the past year that regardless if you like Gov. Bruce Rauner’s ‘Turnaround Agenda’ or not, at least he has a plan. It might be a plan you detest and despise, but it’s a plan. We are now 10 months into unchartered territory in Illinois where the state is operating without a budget and still the only plan that Democrats have presented is to increase taxes so they can spend more money. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but tax and spend is not a plan, instead it’s the reason Illinois is at the brink of bankruptcy.

Consider again these two pieces of legislation and then let’s revisit (and paraphrase) the wise words of Twain: “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist (in Illinois) is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”

Jim Muir has been a journalist in Southern Illinois for 24 years working in newspaper, radio and magazine. Follow Jim Muir on Facebook or on Twitter @jmuir1153. He can be reached at or at 618-525-4744.


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